Trojan Mine

Trojan Nickel is part of BNC and has a JORC measured, indicated and inferred resource size of 1,050,555 tonnes of massive ores at a grade of 5.77% and 5,395,385 tonnes of disseminated ore at a grade of 0.83%. It also has proved and probable reserves of 32,448 tonnes of contained nickel. Figures as published in 2016 Annual Report. Until BNC's smelter is fully operational, Trojan has an offtake agreement to sell all of its nickel-in-concentrate.

For the last number of years the market experienced historically low nickel prices and high inventories. Trojan responded by reducing volumes and targeting higher grades (massives). Trojan was able to develop a new sustainable mine plan because of its ability to blend its higher-grade massives with the lower-grade disseminated ore.

Along with more efficient equipment usage, optimising of shift cycles, reductions in labour costs, lower transport costs and the outsourcing of development, have all contributed to BNC being one of the most competitive cost base in the industry.

The current focus is to complete Phase 2 of its re-deepening project, restore annual mining targets to over 7,000/t nickel-in-concentrate per annum. As soon as market prices recover to sustainable levels to re-start the smelter. The re-deepening project could provide increased feed for the smelter and allow exploration drilling to continue to evaluate resources below 45/0 level.

The objectives for the re-deepening project are to: 

•  Extend the existing sub vertical shaft system by 240m to access to known ore resources below the existing shaft bottom.
•  Extend the life of mine by approximately 5 years
•  Access to 43/0 Level haulage to allow exploration drilling to evaluate resources below 45/0 level

Below is the Trojan Mine Re-deep Project showing the section of the shafts and section for the levels. Mining of all 5 shafts was completed in the first phase. Completion of infrastructure installations will be done in this phase of the project.


The current plan also includes material from 45L, 47L and a small component from 49L which is considered as part of a further shaft re-deepening project between 45L and 52L (1,530 mbs). Although planning for this is only provisional, further shaft deepening to 52L is technically feasible and within the capability of the rock hoist. BNC will need to provide additional ventilation capacity and this is part of the plan. Further exploration drilling is needed to confirm the Mineral Resource to at least the Indicated category of confidence as well as to confirm strike extensions of the resource on the deeper levels. Confirmation of the resource along the full strike length on the deeper levels would likely lead to a further extension of mine life and a lower vertical sinking rate than is currently planned.

Preparatory work for the civils installation in the crusher chamber, rockshaft and mining of tip legs accesses in the ore pass are well underway. Ventilation infrastructure and support work in the crusher chamber are complete. Fabrication of loading station and crusher chamber beams are complete at De Souza and Cochrane. 


BNC has an offtake agreement with Glencore to purchase 100% of its nickel in concentrate and will continue until such time that the Smelter and/or Refinery are restarted, so as to produce nickel in matte, metal or other processed product forms.








Nickel Quarterly Milled@2x



Nickel Quarterly Head Grade@2x



    FY2016 FY2015
Tonnes mined (t) 410,423 599,572
Tonnes milled (t) 440,449 599,766
Nickel Head grade (%) 1.7 1.5
Recovery  (%) 87.8 83.7
Ni in concentrate (t) 6,621 7,306
Nickel Sales (t) 6,613 7,352
Average nickel price ($/tNi) 6,737 10,855
Cash cost (C1) ($/tNi) 5,978 8,000
All-in sustaining cost (C3) ($/tNi) 6,818 8,558

1. C1 cash cost per tonne includes costs for mining, processing, administration, off-take costs and penalties, transport costs, accounting movements for stockpiles, and net proceeds from by-product credits. It excludes capital costs for exploration, mine development or processing mill capital works, and, the cost of royalties.

2. All-in sustaining C3 cost reflects the cash cost per tonne plus depreciation and amortisation, thus incorporating the capital cost of production (plus interest), and other indirect costs and royalties. All-in-sustaining cost represents all costs attributable to nickel production over the period

3. The company has amended the reporting of the nickel price received, cash cost and all-in sustaining cost. The average nickel price received reflects the actual price received rather than the actual average price for the quarter as previously reported. Cash costs and all-in sustaining costs are now reported as actual costs incurred, previously these costs were adjusted for the opportunity cost forgone as a result of selling a nickel concentrate rather than a nickel cathode. 


Trojan comprises two major ore bodies: the Main Orebody (MOB) and the Hangingwall Orebody (HOB). The MOB is the largest orebody and is characterised by the presence of massive and near massive high grade sulphide mineralisation which forms a narrow and discontinuous zone along its footwall contact. The MOB extends along strike for some 250m, has an average width of 30m and has been intersected at a maximum depth of some 1,440m below the shaft collar.



These are the key characteristics of the mine:

  • Well understood orebody
  • Two types of ores: disseminated sulphide ore body (>0.40%Ni) and massive sulphide orebody (>3.00%Ni).
  • 105Kt JORC compliant nickel resources @ 1.63%TNi
  • Underground access is via sub vertical shaft system down to 45L. There is also ramp system from 23L to 39L.
  • Mining method is sublevel block caving
  • LHD lashing from drawpoint to the tips in disseminated orebodies above 35L. Massive ore is loaded into dump trucks by LHD and hauled up the ramp and tipped on 35/1 ore tip and 35/2 waste tip.
  • Two major tramming level namely 33L and 35L. 37L and 39L is under development and capitalisation.
  • Primary crushing at 36L for ore and is hoisted using 10t skip to 6L and retrammed at 7L and hoisted out from 8L.
  • Plant processes: Secondary crushing, tertiary crushing, primary milling, Rougher flotation, secondary milling,  scavenger


Before a new mine plan was implemented in 2015, Trojan had been processing over 600,000 tonnes of ore annually. To control costs, mining more of the higher-grade massives and reducing tonnes milled to around 450,000 tonnes increased the head grade. Several cost cutting initiatives, including retrenching some staff, is helping Trojan meet its medium term all-in-sustaining cost target of between $5,000 and $6,000 per tonne of nickel-in-concentrate.

High grading is the process of mining the highest-grade zones of the ore body to provide short-term economic benefit, on the assumption that the remaining areas of the ore body will be mined as the price increases. In reality, the remaining or surrounding ore often becomes marginally economic resulting in loss of metal to the reserve base.

Trojan mine high grading is different from traditional high grading due to the nature of the resources where the high grade (massives) and the low grade (disseminated) are mined separately in a ‘two product’ setup, without any resultant sterilization of low grade resources.

The current grade blend plan is at a massive to disseminated ratio of 1:2. Previously, the blending had a massive to disseminated ratio of 1:6. 


No change in volume and an increase in Nickel tonnes contained of 8% driven by an increase in massive resources

  As at March 2016 As at March 2015
Resource Category Tonnage ('000t) Grade (%Ni) Contained Ni(t) Tonnage ('000t) Grade (%Ni) Contatined Ni(t)
Measured 1,615 1.09 17,610 2,135.00 0.90 19,238
Indicated  1,639 1.39 22,744 1,193.00 1.36 16,274
Sub Total  3,254 1.24 40,354 3,328.00 1.07 40,354
Inferred  3,192 2.03 64,848 3,301.48 1.87 61,774
Total 6,446 1.63 105,202 6,629 1.47 97,286


The latest published results available:

  H1 FY2017 H1 FY2016
$'000 Six months ended 30 Sep 2016 Six months ended 30 Sep 2015
Revenue 39,770 40,403
Cost of Sales -25,369 -27,123
Operating Profit (loss) 14,400 13,279
Profit/(loss) before tax 8,128 6,607
Profit/(loss) after tax 5,274 3,288


Abridged Group Statement of Cash Flows for the year ended 31 March 2016

  31 March 2016
31 March 2015
US$ *Restated
Cash flows from opearting Activities    
Operating profit from operations before interest and taxation 1,752,893 15,791,628
Adjusted for:    
Depreciation of property plant and equipment 2,034,861 2,209,027
Change in environmental rehabilitation provision 70,316 (76,476)
(Profit)/Loss on disposal of property plant and equipment (2,817,750) 6,201
Reversal of impairment (3,400,000) -
Operating cash flow before working capital changes (2,359,680) 17,930,280
Decrease / (Increase) in inventories 2,135,455 (4,351,079)
Increase in trade and other receivables (2,331,922) (2,452,791)
Decrease in trade and other payables (2,215,742) (4,720,587)
Net cash flows from operations (4,771,899) 6,405,823
Returns on investments and servicing of finance 34,837 716,448



The prevailing taxation regime for mining companies in Zimbabwe includes the following provisions:

  • Corporate Income tax at 25.75%
  • Exploration, development and capital costs can be expensed against profit in the year incurred or carried forward to be  expensed against the first year of production
  • Royalty at 2% of turnover with effect from 1 January 2012 to September 30, 2014.  With effect from 1 January 2014, the  royatly was no longer deductable for the purposes of calculating profit that is chargeable to Zimbabwean Income Tax.  With effect from 1 October 2014, the royalty rate was reduced from 7% to 2%.
  • Exemptions on customs duty and import taxes on capital items during exploration and development phases
  • Withholding tax on dividend payments to non-Zimbabweans and on services provided by foreign suppliers at a rate of  5% to 15% depending on the location of the payee.